Robert Doisneau (1912 – 1994) was a French photographer. In the 1930s he used a Leica camera on the streets of Paris. He and Henri Cartier-Bresson were pioneers of photojournalism.He is renowned for his 1950 image Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Town Hall), a photo of a couple kissing in the busy streets of Paris. Robert Doisneau was appointed a Chevalier (Knight) of the Legion of Honour in 1984.
Doisneau was known for his modest, playful, and ironic images of amusing juxtapositions, mingling social classes, and eccentrics in contemporary Paris streets and cafes. Influenced by the work of André Kertész, Eugène Atget, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, in more than twenty books he presented a charming vision of human frailty and life as a series of quiet, incongruous moments.
He is renowned for his 1950 image, a photograph of a couple kissing in the busy streets of Paris. Doisneau was appointed a Chevalier (Knight) of the Legion of Honour in 1984.
Doisneau: “The marvels of daily life are so exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.”
Finally, the looks of both of the women are scathing. Both look angry for having their picture taken. The older woman appears protective over the younger woman; her body language is closed off, defensive. The instrument, an accordion, is held defensively as if armor against the photographer.
“On a peaceful Sunday morning there appeared two women and an accordion. From rue Mouffetard to rue de Flandre, from the wholesale butchers at la Villette to the lads on rue de Lyon, with zigzags along canal Saint-Martin via the cheap eateries on rue Tiquetonne, I couldn’t say how many days the aimless stroll lasted, nor in how many bistros we drank.
Me and my buddy Giraud both fell under the accordion’s spell. That really can happen sometimes. How else can you explain the patience of all those customers, for people normally hate to have their picture taken when they’re eating (unlike drinkers, who pose willingly, often with a touch of bravado). It was the melody that supplied the anesthesia that made the photographer bearable.” – from the notebook of Robert Doisneau